By Lea Pachta

Federation Against Software Theft (FAST), the voice of the software industry today hailed the adoption of the Digital Economy Bill through the House of Commons.

Steps may now be taken with new law to combat the illegal file-sharing that threatens the UK’s world-class creative industries according to John Lovelock, chief executive of FAST.

“The creative industries are today what manufacturing used to mean to the UK’s economy in previous decades. IP contributes a total of £53 billion to our GDP, which equates to around eight per cent overall, while the creative industries that include software, film, music, games, eBooks and other sectors are responsible for employing 1.9 million people. Having such a strong impact on our country’s financial position, it’s been astounding that it’s taken this long for it to reach the statute books,” says John.

“Issues of software piracy, counterfeiting, illegal file-sharing, lack of compliance in business together with a lack of appreciation for copyright among the public are all current and serious threats to the economy. As a country we must show leadership and empower our current and emerging industry. The Bill is a step in the right direction as we now have a course of action to impede further damage, but there is a sting in the tail. Rights holders must work to make the most of it including court action against the worst culprits or there is a risk little will be achieved,” added John.

The Digital Economy Bill implements aspects of Government policy on digital media set out in the ‘Digital Britain’ White Paper published in June 2009. The Bill was presented to the Commons on 16 March 2010 and passed a Second Reading debate on 7 April 2010.

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